Whether you agree with the assessments or not, global warming is a force to be reckoned with. And whether it is manmade or not, it seems to be having an effect on our planet. We can deny it or we can try to learn to live with it. But there are others who see it as an opportunity, shamelessly using it as a way to reap big profits. While the rest of the world debates endlessly, these brazen swindlers are using our fears against us, raking in fortunes. Is it dishonorable profiteering or is it sound capitalist business sense?
Leveraging a tragic or otherwise tense situation for income is nothing new. During the gold rush of 1849, the cost of mining equipment soared. In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the governor of New Jersey had to warn gas station owners not to price gouge and eight businesses were accused of the illegal practice. After Hurricane Charley, an Orlando gas station was selling $2 bags of ice for $10. These may seem like fraudulent behavior, but it pales in comparison to the profiteering going on right now in the name of global warming. So let’s meet these companies or industries who deem it fit to make money from our woes, shall we?
Oil companies in the Arctic
Currently the sea ice in the Arctic is at historic lows (as opposed to the Antarctic), and that has opened the door for petroleum companies to have free reign. The ice melts and that means they can drill in more places. Drilling in more places then leads to more drilling, which then causes more global warming. Can anyone see a problem here?
Drought is helping spur business for hedge fund companies who invest heavily in water futures. These people make millions buying water rights and making private equity and stock market investments in water treatment companies. According to Water Asset Management’s Chief Operating Officer Marc Robert, “Climate change for us is a driver.” Meaning catastrophe is a cash cow for Robert and investors like him.
Stories of eastern European magnates basically stealing farmland from the poor in exchange for vodka and grain are at the rock bottom of how low a profiteer can go. However, the terrible tales don’t end there. In the West, land grabbing is occurring with alarming regularity, especially in Australia. Michael Richardson, head of business development at Land Commodities, says higher temperatures, scarce usable real estate, and quickly increasing populations will make Aussie cropland more valuable, so he is advising rich clients to get in on the getting while it’s good.
Disease & Vaccines
Climate change has grave consequences for all facets of human life, and infectious disease is one of the most profound. From a human perspective, environmental fluctuations could prompt mass migration, triggering a shift in disease patterns. Crop failures and the resulting famine have the potential to quell our resistance to infections. The transmission of disease could be heightened due to the shortage and pollution of drinkable water. Because of increased stress on our economic and political structures, our existing public health systems may fail, leaving mankind poorly prepared for unforeseen epidemics. This doomsday scenario leaves the door wide open for large firms to make gobs of money from disease prevention and control. Some may produce and distribute vaccines. Some may cash in with health care products or services. Whatever the case, if the future shakes down the way some global warming alarmists think, we may be in for a rough ride when it comes to people extracting fortunes from our misery.
Sources: academic.evergreen.edu | theverge.com | salon.com | today.com | thenewamerican.com | business.time.com | businessweek.com